Any other moms who's husbands work away from home for extended periods of time?

Shevaun - posted on 01/23/2009 ( 32 moms have responded )

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Hi there! I'm looking to chat with other moms who have husbands who work for extended periods of time away from home. My husband works about seven hours north of our city for ten day periods and is home for four. I've done stretches everything from 10 to 28 days and it's not always easy! I have a four and a half year old and a 19 month old and it's constantly busy and noisy around here. I know that I'm incredibly lucky that he's not overseas for even longer periods of time, but given his line of work, it's a possibility in the future, he's still working on finishing school. I'm curious to hear from other moms who deal with this same situation, regardless if it's for work, army, or other reasons beyond their control, about how they deal with the time apart, cope with the children and their needs daily on their own and any activities they participate in during their time with the kids.

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Shevaun - posted on 01/23/2009

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I found that talking to other moms who have had husbands or DO have husband out working make it nice.  It makes it easier to know that you're not alone.  Also, finding activities like swimming, parks (in summer, I'm in Canada), playgroups (have saved my sanity greatly), and occasionally finding a baby sitter and going to a movie or something with a friend helps alot too!  I'm actually going to a movie tomorrow night with a girlfriend.  My sister in law offered to watch the kids while I'm out because I couldn't find a sitter and she knew that I was having brain meltdown. 



I also found that I can't do it all on my own.  I do the best with the housework, but there are some days I just can't do it all and play with the kids.  I've been a stay at home mom since my son was born, and while I did work part time October 2007-April 2008 (and hated it) I found that I'm better suited to the life I lead right now.  Logan will be in school this fall, so that will add something else to our daily life. 



Mostly, you just have to find the rhythm that works best for you and the kids.  But definitely, find some time to yourself.  Even if it's going grocery shopping without the kids, it helps.  But it really is a transition, and I found for myself, it was only as hard as I made it.  The only thing that made it a bit difficult was that there were things that changed while my husband was away that I needed to change because it made my life a bit easier.  For instance, my husband likes to bathe the kids daily while he's home.  That's fine with me.  I just don't always have the time/energy to do it daily.  So I do it every 2 days or so.  We never used to go check on Logan was he was little for fear that he would wake up.  When my husband left the first time when Logan was two, I started checking on him because it made me feel better.  Jeff questioned that at the start, but when I explained to him that it made me feel calmer, he accepted it and just let me do it.  Sometimes, they are small things like checking on the kids, and sometimes, they are big things, like bedtimes. 



Good luck Christy!  It's all relative to what you need to do for yourself and the kids.  What does your husband do?  Mine works for a geotechnological firm in Fort McMurray, Alberta. 

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Shannon - posted on 09/20/2012

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I am only 16 but my boyfriend lives overseas and it is really hard, but we make it work because we really love each other and tell each other EVERYTHING. Honesty is really important to the both of us and it is the best way to still feel together when we are so far away.

Also, when I was little my dad was in the military and my dad was only home on weekends. Depending on how old your kids are (if they are too little to understand) just let them know that dad is working so that they can have all the toys and food and things that they need and teach them to have patience.

As for you and your husband, just keep communicating. Communication is a big part of relationships and I think the most important. It is ok to miss each other when he is gone but then be happy together when you can.

If it is really becoming a problem maybe consider moving? Or having him move his job to somewhere closer? It would be a big change but it could be better in the long run.

Catalina - posted on 09/18/2012

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I see this is an old post, but thought of replying. My husband works the same schedule and we have a baby that just turned 1 yesterday. I am starting to consider having a second (and no more) but am actually overwhelmed at the thought with being on my own so often...

Lynda - posted on 01/24/2009

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I find I have the opposite problems with discipline.  When my husband is gone I let the kids get away with a lot more than what he does because I sometimes find he disciplines them for the littlest things.  Also, my oldest is a very active boy and if I stressed about everything he does I would literally be in my bedroom most of the times screaming.   But when my husband is home we go out more because they seem to listen to him better than me. 



It's getting better now that he is in Kindergarten has to sit for longer periods of time and he seems to be calming down, but we have our days. 



But with the routine part I find when my hubby is home my routines gets screwed up.  My kids are so used to routines that it doesn't take them long to get back into the swing of things.  Also having them in school helps because you can't really deviate from that routine too much.



Good Luck All!

Shevaun - posted on 01/24/2009

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Diana - That's basically what we did.  We talked about what makes my life easier while he's gone and that I'd like to keep as much of that "normal" as possible while he's home.  Part of the problem is we have friends who want to see us together and stuff as well.  So sometimes, it goes up in the air.  But most of the time, he's very understanding and realizes that alot of the changes benefit me, which benefits the kids!!  I think the first summer when Logan was 2 was the hardest.  Now, it's pretty good!  There are things that we can work on, but it wouldn't be normal if we didn't!  hahahaha...



I wish I could pass this onto a friend who was in our situation this past summer.  She had a terrible time with enacting her own rules while her hubby was gone, only to have him come home and throw them out the window with the argument "Well, I'm home now.  He can stay up an extra hour/two"  I felt for her because when he would go away for his two weeks, she would have to fight to get it all back to where it worked for her!!  I even explained to her that the best thing she could do was discuss with him what the situation is and how hard it is to fix it, but it never happened.  He's not going away right now, but has been looking for another job and might wind up with a job where he would go away for even longer periods of time.  I just pray that they can work it out!!



Thanks alot Diane!  Your experience and input is invaluable to alot of us!  I know I appreciate hearing that we're not the only ones and that we did the right thing in discussing the situation!  I've only been a mommy for almost five years, and I'm totally learning as I go!! :)

Sherry - posted on 01/24/2009

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M y fiance and I have a 3 and a half year old daughter. He is in the Army and goes away very frequently. He is away now for two months. This is the longest stretch yet and were living in Miami now 1500 miles away from any family and friends so it is pretty difficult! It does help to talk to other moms who are in the same situation!

Diana - posted on 01/24/2009

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For those of you who struggle when your husband comes home I would give you a huge piece of advice.  This is from 15 years of marriage....3 children of our own and fostering many others.   Find a time to go on a dinner date with your husband and talk to him about finding a way to set some "family rules & schedules".  Make it clear that you want/need his input.  Then find the best way you can share with him that it makes life twice as difficult on you when rules are different when daddy is home and when he is gone.



 



We all know men need to be admired and know they are important....show them how important their input is in this planning and the follow through.   You NEED his support when he is home to show the kids that it is important to listen to you.



 



Sounds like you all have great guys and it will work out great   =}

Sara - posted on 01/24/2009

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Hi everyone..My hubby is a truck driver and is gone for a week at a time....this time hes been gone 2 weeks and its been tough...i have 2 kids, ages 8 and 2 and they miss him alt when hes gone...Hubbbys wasnt here in time for both of the pregnancies, he was gone more with my daughter he  missed all her 1st but now hes home more if hes gone a week hell be home for 4 days or like now he was gone for 2 weeks and hell be home for 10 days! Its hard  having to raise 2 kids particly on my own,but hes been doing it for 10 years now and i guess you just get use to it but i dont think i ever got use to it if that makes sence lol..i still cry when he leaves, the good thing i like is that he got a laptop so whenever hes not working or waiting for a load he can log on and talk to us and we see him on web cam kids love that and it keep him updated to whats going on back at home.... I guess we can only so so much to hang in there while our hubbys are gone

Shevaun - posted on 01/24/2009

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Thanks Carley!  I'm so sorry to hear that your life has so much upheaval in it!  That's got to be so difficult.  I'm not sure I'd even tell the kids until Daddy was through the door that he was coming if I were in your situation! 



And I can totally relate to the changes in your kids when Daddy's home.  Logan's normally really good, but he definitely has his moments when Daddy's home.  He doesn't go to bed as easily, he acts out a bit more, and for the first day or so after Jeff leaves, we have to re-establish the rules.  Which isn't Jeff's fault.  Logan just has made it his "thing".  So I know it will happen, and I deal with it as it comes.  And acting out for us isn't really all that big of a deal.  As I said before, my kidlets are super good kids.  My mother in law thinks I should have another one in the future just to get a real challenge! 



Angela - I'm super happy to hear that you have a friend so close by to help you get through it all!  I have a few friends myself, but one in particular who I've become very close with.  I haven't been able to see her much in the past few weeks, because she's been training to become a bus driver; a job that allows her to bring her three year old son along with her!  I go to her house sometimes, others she comes here, and in the summertime we go out as much as humanly possible.  I'm going to see if their family wants to go swimming with us tomorrow!  I'm actually going to the movies with her tonight!  She's always up to go out with me because she knows how hard it can be on my own and I appreciate her more than she can know!!



And speaking of swimming, I need to go wash the laundry for swimming!  Take care all of you!  I look forward to chatting with all of you in the future!  Stay positive, keep up the good work and GOOD LUCK!!  God knows we need it!!m :)

Carley - posted on 01/24/2009

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Some of you have mentioned that it helps to have a schedule.  I have my kids on a schedule, like bedtimes and everything, but the times when my fiancee is home or out of town are so unpredictable.  He can call one hour and say he's driving home, then call a couple minutes later and say he had to turn around and go to another job.  Or when he's home he thinks he'll be home for a few days, and then that night he might get a call saying he has to go to a job early the next morning.  We just never know, and I can't get used to it even after 3+ years. 



Shevaun I like your questions.  The one big difference I noticed lately in discipline is when we all go to get groceries.  When it's just me and the kids, they sit in the cart and I usually have no problem.  But when my fiancee is home and comes along, my 3 year old runs around the store and always wants his daddy to chase him.  It's like he's a totally different kid, but I think he just likes the extra attention from his daddy. 



Things are always changing around here while he's gone.  There's just so much going on especially with 2 growing kids.  It's funny because sometimes if I forget to fill my fiancee in on something that changed while he was gone, my 3 year old will speak up and let him know.  I don't think anyone should feel like a "bad guy" for changing anything while their husbands are gone.   With growing kids there always seems to be a rule or something that needs to be changed to keep the house running smoothly.

Angela - posted on 01/24/2009

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well my next door neighbour has a 3 year old son and a 5 year old daughter and one good thing is she is my best friend and my son and her kids get a long great. So when my husband is gone I am usually at her house just playing around with all the kids and in the summer time we take walks to the playgrounds and end up chatting with other moms but in winter it is a little harder to do so. But yea..you do always feel like the bad guy cause when the men are home they just want to be relaxed and do asnything for the kids but they do never get to see them so dont take it out to much on them lol. Well talk to you ladies soon..

Shevaun - posted on 01/24/2009

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There are so many of you out there who are in the same boat I'm in and do alot of the same things I do!  I somehow managed to find someone to watch my little ones tonight so I can do a movie.  On Monday, my husband will have been gone for 2 weeks.  My brain sort of feels like it's going to melt.  We just got back two weeks ago from a 3 week trip north to the Yukon, where we had to drive each way 22 hours with the 19 month old and 4 year old.  No mean feat, let me tell you.  So I'm still recovering and trying to get back into routine after that.  Before he came home, I was doing really well.  I'd gotten really used to it, and then he came home for three weeks, and while we were in Whitehorse, I had not only my husband there to alleviate my stress, but grandparents, aunties and uncle.  Suddenly, here I am again, struggling.  It doesn't make sense!  But after this time, he will be back on a normal schedule again!!  And now, Olivia's suddenly learning so much so fast and is demanding ALOT of my time.  At least Logan's old enough and independent enough to entertain himself for extended periods of time.  The baby, not so much! 



Lynda - I found that my husband and I are good apart as well.  We've worked together once before we had kids and that was fine, but being apart has made things a bit better.  It's harder on the kids than it is us at this point.  After our three weeks with Daddy, Olivia's (my 19 month old) isn't handling it as well as she did beforehand.  But I can totally relate to there being more Daddy/kid time around here as well.  The evenings have been incredibly difficult for me as well.  We're talking about getting a cat next week so that I can have a warm body to talk to and cuddle with.  I've been pretty lonely at night. 



Diana - I do agree with having a good solid schedule.  I make sure both my kids are in bed by 7 each night.  Not because I'm greedy (because that's really early, I know), but because the baby's already for bed at that point and Logan (who's four) just goes upstairs and plays quietly for an hour or two.  I also really enjoy the evening to sit and just chill out watching my favorite shows or doing a bit of housework.  And I TOTALLY agree on not sweating the small stuff!  My house is frequently a disaster zone, and is really only totally clean when Jeff's home because he helps pick up the slack!!  I'd rather play with my kids than be cleaning 24/7.  But Logan goes to kindergarten in the fall, so that will give me a bit more time again!



I do have one new question for you ladies:  Do you find that sometimes it's hard when your husband comes home to maintain the level of discipline that you've had to enforce while you're gone?  Or do things change when he's home?  Or did you have trouble explaining why you've made the changes you did while he was gone?  Do you find that you feel like "the bad guy" all the time? 



Personally, I've found that my four year old tries really hard to play us off each other while Jeff's home.  I'm not sure why he figured that was a good idea, because whenever he does it, he gets a time out, or he gets in trouble, but still, he tries.  I've been blessedly lucky to have two very incredibly patient, sweet kids.  And at the start of Jeff going away, I made changes to my schedule or the way we do things because it made my life easier for that point.  He would question it, and I would explain why.  That helped, but sometimes he'd forget (or not forget) and then he'd try to go back to the way it was.  It made it stressful, but after three years of doing this, we've managed to come to a good medium! 



Anyway, I'm posting to this like crazy!  Thanks all of you for doing the same!  It's always a good feeling knowing you're not alone!  I wish all of you good luck! 

Diana - posted on 01/24/2009

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Hello ladies.....my husband travels a great deal with his job as well.  He will be home a total of 10 days during the monts of Jan & Feb.  I have 3 boys ages 13, 6 & 7.  All 3 are involved in sports and we have activites nightly.  I have been married for nearly 16 years and have MANY suggestions.  My first & most life saving rule is STICK TO A SCHEDULE!!!!  Get those little kiddos in bed every night at the same time.  It gives you a light at the end of the tunnel during the day and time to yourself in the evening.  My 2 youngest boys are in bed by 8:00 in the evening.  That gives me a couple hours to do whatever needs done.....or read a book and relax.  =}



Next, you MUST find a way to get away for awhile.  When the boys were younger I would "swap" babysitting with a friend or find a way to save up to hire a sitter.  Even if it was for 2 hours so I could go to Starbucks & read or wander aimlessly through the mall.  I also had girlfriends that we would go do things together.  We would literally spend 2 hours wandering through Target.  Buckle those little ones into a cart....get a cookie & juice for them and enjoy some girl talk while you shop.



You have to find a way to get out of the house, keep it normal and don't sweat the small stuff.



 

Lynda - posted on 01/23/2009

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Hi All.  My husband has been working out of town for the past 2 years.  My sons were 3 and 1 at the time.  They are now 5 and 3 and I'm finding as they are getting older it's getting a bit easier.  When my husband first went out of town I did not have any breaks from my kids.  I do have a little bit of family near by but they weren't much help.  I found like some of you mentioned previously a playgroup and then I started to put my sons in playschool.  At first I had 2 hours a week to myself.  Now I'm up to 15 hours of me time while my kids are in their respective schools.  I'm not as stressed.  At first it was tough getting used to him being gone.  I would cry on the phone with him every night.  Then my friend reminded me that it's harder on him because he's away from everything familiar, but I'm at home with my kids.  After that I've tried not to cry.  I find the evenings the hardest because that's when the kids go to bed and my mind starts working.  



I have found with my husband and I we fight less now that we are apart more.   We are the type of couple that we are closer when we are apart.  My husband wants to spend time with me and the kids and we actually do activities as a family now when he's home.  When he worked around home I found that to de-stress himself he was always doing something on his own.  He now does that on his downtime when he's gone. 



My advise to all you "newbies" is don't sweat the small stuff.  If your outside work gets neglected one week...oh well....if your inside work gets neglected one week....oh well.   Just remember there is nobody going to come to your house and say "YOU'RE FIRED"  because you have a dirty house.   The work will still be there tomorrow.  Also, I found that I kept busy putting my kids in activities..swimming lessons, playschool, etc, but when my husband came home I made sure the activities slowed down and we could focus on "us".  



Well Good Luck All!!

April - posted on 01/23/2009

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Wow I thought it was hard.... My hsuband is a fireman so he works a 9 day work week with 24 hours on off on off on off for 4. Unless he picks up overtime then he can work anywhere from 1 to 9 has been the longest stretch for me... and it was so hard I had to take my kids to the Fire Station 86 miles away so they could see him. at least I have the option. I am a pretty shy person so I don't ahve play dates because the one group I tried to join told me I was out of the zip code requirement so I really never tried again. I try to be friendly with the moms when I drop off at kindegarten and pre school. but it seems everyone allready has their clicks just like frickin highschool...

Good luck everyone and I hope your husbamd comes home safely in APRIL.

Shannon - posted on 01/23/2009

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Hey there!  Yes, my family would definitely fall somewhere in this category! ;)  We have 3 girls...14, 8 and 4.   I am a teacher at a Christian School, and my husband is gone for at least 3 to 4 days/week with one week a month being a 'base' week.  We have zero family here or nearby, so it's up to us to make our family function. ;)  It is challenging!!!  But, we have been doing this routine for the past 4 years now and have found that we actually have MORE family time than if he were to have a day to day job from 8 to 5.  You put drive time in there, and he gets more 'face' time with the girls with his work schedule now.  He does, however, know that when I'm 'done', I'm done and he has to take on the girls so I can have a break, or he needs to focus on me, so we can regroup for the next travelling period....The best thing I can say for having less stress, is to plan ahead as best as you can.  As women, we tend to like to have a 'plan' so we know what to do and how to prepare.  It won't always be in 'stone', but it helps.... :)

Shevaun - posted on 01/23/2009

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Sorry about that last post.  It seems I'm running on alot tonight.  What I meant about his being home for an extended period was for your husband, Miranda! 



But I should has also added that my step brother hasn't gone back and in his case, it looks as if it isn't a concern right now that he will be sent back, which is a massive relief for my step mom! 



I truly feel for the families of the men and women in service to their countries.  It takes a brave soul to risk their lives for complete strangers!!  My own family has had its share of servicemen, including my grandfather, who served in World War 2, and now my step brother.  You must be incredibly proud of your husband!

Shevaun - posted on 01/23/2009

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Then I must say that I'm glad he's in the Navy rather than the Army.  I have a step brother who was deployed to Afghanistan the year I was pregnant with Olivia.  While he was there, he experienced an attack very close to his unit.  Subsequently, he was safe, but six were lost in that attack.  He was only approximately 150 meters from the blast.  It sounds as if he's going to be home for a good while the next round, which must be a relief for you!  I know that after what constitutes as a "very extended" round for us, I'm very prepared for a bit of help after Jeff arrives home.  And I'm also very blessed to have a husband who fully participates in the kid's lives even after he's been gone for long periods of time!! 



My prayers are with you while making your adjustments to your life!  And I understand how difficult it must be there to find a job right now!  It's not a whole lot better in Canada right now, employment wise. 

Shevaun - posted on 01/23/2009

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Oh my goodness Carley.  That sounds like when my husband first went up.  He was only doing it for the summers originally, when my son was 2.  He would be gone for these weird periods of time, then call me a day or two before and say "I'm coming home tomorrow" and then be home for a week, only to be gone for up to a month again.  It was all very strange that summer.  The summer of 2007, we were blessed enough that he was doing 10 day on, 4 day off shifts and that definitely made a difference! 



Hope that you guys eventually get to have a more regular schedule!!

Miranda - posted on 01/23/2009

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It is hard for him...especially because he missed EVERYTHING with his son as well. (He has a 2 1/2 y/o from a previous relationship.) He's still fighting just to get to see him. But, it just brings back all those feelings for him. But, we take pictures EVERYDAY and a video at least once a week. He makes special "requests" for certain pictures like "messy eating pictures" and pictures of Caelan feeding the dog HER food, bathtime pictures...I think that kinda gives him that "home" feeling.



Thanks for the well-wishes for the move. I just PRAY I can find a job in Virginia Beach...'cause we can't move until I do.



He will be home (in Virginia) for a while when he returns from this tour. The earliest he'd possibly go somewhere is like 2011, I think. But, from what I understand...it'll be a good while before he's deployed again...IF he's deployed again. The Navy is definitely the most "family oriented" branch of the military. They do more than any other branch to keep families together & there are usually fewer deployments & more time between them (depending on the person's job).

Carley - posted on 01/23/2009

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For the past 3 years my fiancee has worked with a pile driving company and is constantly away from home.  I have a 3 year old son and a 1 year old daughter.  The thing I hate the most about his job is I never know when he'll be home.  He's out of town going from worksite to worksite and doesn't get to come home until all of the jobs are done.  As of right now we haven't seen him since January 1st.  It's very hard to get used to even after 3 years, as we never know when he'll be home.  



 



 

Shevaun - posted on 01/23/2009

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My husband missed Olivia's birth because I had gestational diabetes and started having hypoglycemic attacks while he was gone, so they induced me.  He missed her by just six hours!  So in that respect, I can definitely relate!



I'm so sorry that he's missed so many of her firsts!  That's got to be the hardest part for him!  I know that Jeff missed a few of Olivia's including her first birthday.  Good luck on the move!  How long will be home this next time around?

Miranda - posted on 01/23/2009

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Macaelan is 10 1/2 months old. She really doesn't know her Daddy. He went to boot camp at the beginning of my pregnancy. He went from there to A-School. Luckily, his A-School was only 3 1/2 hours from home, so after I had Caelan, he came home on the weekends. He missed her birth by a few hours. I was scheduled to be induced so he could be home, but went into labor the day before. He's missed EVERYTHING. The only "firsts" he was home for was the little things...holding up her head, rolling over, etc. He's missed her first words, her first steps, her first Christmas, he's going to miss her first birthday. But, he sends her pictures and videos of himself & she knows "Daddy" when she sees him on TV or hears his voice. I just hope she recognizes him when she sees him in April.



It's MUCH harder for him than it is for me. It is hard for me, naturally...I get depressed sometimes...but then I remind myself that I have her & that I'm surrounded with WONDERFUL family and friends while he is off on an air craft carrier in the middle of the ocean on the other side of the world. I pray for his safety all the time. Luckily, the job he's doing right now isn't that dangerous...His normal job is VERY  dangerous, though.



I'm looking forward to seeing him again in April & moving to Virginia with him. It's hard here without him.



Wow...I feel like I just wrote a book!

Shevaun - posted on 01/23/2009

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Angela, I found that playgroups where there are other moms helped alot.  I go to four different ones right now, Monday, Tuesday and two on Thursday.  The Thursday ones are great because they kill that day.  I'm lucky enough that my husband has a regular schedule now, and when he flies home, he comes in on Thursdays.  So it helps to keep our anticipation down. 



In the summer, I just keep myself occupied.  Lots of parks, rec centers, we have lots of birthday parties we attend.  Those kinds of things.  Coffee with friends, playdates, those all help alot too.  I'm a super social person, and it sucks when Jeff's out of town.  I don't do well on my own.  I actually really hate the evenings because I don't have anyone to really talk to.  I'm not a homebody if I can help it! 



Finding time for myself helps too.  Just a bath after the kids go down. :)

Shevaun - posted on 01/23/2009

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Wow Miranda!  It's tough enough when he's gone for the length of time he's gone (in my own case), but to have your husband overseas must be really difficult!  I have to say that although it's hard enough for me, I am thankful that he's not overseas.  I hope you have a good support network.  You most definitely have it more difficult than I do, and I've been blessed with many friends who are willing to help me when I need it!  I wish we had more family in our city though.  Most of our family members live in the Yukon, and we're in Alberta.



And you're right, you do get used to it.  This past summer, he would do 3 week stretches, (plenty hard enough for myself...) but when he'd get home, it was almost weird when he was home.  It was a lot of upheaval but in a good way. 



After the lengths of time you have to deal with, it must be wonderful to have him home!!  How old is your little one?



 

Miranda - posted on 01/23/2009

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I'm in a "similar" situation. Although, I'd sacrifice a small animal for my husband's "trips" to be 10-28 days. See, my husband is in the Navy. He's been gone for over 4 1/2 months & won't be back until April.



It's hard taking care of a home and a child alone, but as bad as it sounds...You do kinda get used to it.

Angela - posted on 01/23/2009

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Hi there My husband to be works out of town all the time he is only home on some weekends..It is really hard and sometimes i just dont know how to do it he is a roofer.

Shevaun - posted on 01/23/2009

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Anytime!  I know how it feels to be in this position, especially from the start.  Good luck and take care! 

Christy - posted on 01/23/2009

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He is clinical trainer for a medical software company that is based in Texas, but we live in North Carolina. Thanks for the advice.

Christy - posted on 01/23/2009

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Hi. My husband just started a new job the 1st of Jan. We have just started this new transition in our family. So far he was gone a week, home a week and gone this week. He'll be home tomorrow and gone again Monday evening for more 2 weeks. So far its just a matter of trying to get into the routine with my 8 and 3 yr old. So any advice you have would be great.

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